April 23, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
For photo of the book's cover click here
SRU professor's latest 'Annie Mouse' book seeks rainbows
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Sometimes all the right things come together to create a perfect inspiration. Such was the case for Anne Slanina, associate professor of elementary education and early childhood and creator of the "Annie Mouse" books for children, as she prepared for her character's latest adventure.
The new book "Where the Rainbow Touches Ground: Another Annie Mouse Adventure" proves the point.
"I was travelling and decided to stop at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Mo. As I began looking around, I was approached by Charley Barker, a retired barber from nearby Neosho, Mo., who serves as a greeter at the monument. He was interesting, and we got to talking. He told my about his lifelong love of poetry writing. I told him about my 'Annie Mouse' books, and he was interested. We exchanged addresses and a short time later he sent me the poem, which provided the basis - and title - of my book," she said.
The four-stanza poem is included as the last page of the book. It deals with how the human heart, or love, is, in fact, a "pot of gold."
"It was just a perfect set up for my storyline of how Annie becomes separated from her father while chasing a rainbow for a pot of gold only to discover that his love is worth more than all of the gold," Slanina said.
The 30-page story for youngsters continues the life of Annie and her trials and tribulations.
The books were originally designed to help foster parent-child discussions of often difficult topics. "Annie Mouse Meets her Guardian Angel" tells of Annie's estrangement from her mother and her adoption of an imaginary friend. "The Adventures of Annie Mouse: Baby Brother Goes to the Hospital" tells of Annie's feelings when unexpectedly separated from her brother mouse during his hospital stay, and "Annie Mouse Meets a New Friend," explains Annie's troubles with bullies after accepting a new friend who is blind.
"Like the previous books, the latest was designed to help strengthen lines of family communication by helping children develop coping skills for real life," Slanina said. "This latest work will hopefully help children better understand the meaning - and importance - of love."
Slanina, kept in contact with Barker who took her on a driving tour of his town, including visits to an old military training base as well as other points of interest. She noted a number of his personality traits were similar to those of her own late father, including devotion to family and military service, among others.
She said, "I always knew my father always loved me, but he was not often verbal in showing affection. So, this book is, in part, a tribute to him and my way of showing that I understood his love."
A final quirk in the book coming to fruition, Slanina said, was, "I recently opened a box of mementoes filled with family history left to me by my father and discovered he had undergone his military training prior to serving in World War II in Neosho. The pictures were the same as the sights I had seen during my tour of Charley's hometown."
Slanina's work as an author also inspired Barker to assemble his years of poetry into a compilation titled "The World Through Charley's Eyes"
The latest Annie book is illustrated by Alicia Agnew, a 2008 Slippery Rock University elementary education graduate and now a preschool teacher.
"Where the Rainbow Touches Ground" is available from the SGA Bookstore in the University Union and online at http://www.anniemousebooks.com.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.